HIMSS: Harnessing Analytics For Healthcare


(Image: xijian/iStockphoto)

(Image: xijian/iStockphoto)

Many healthcare organizations are already proving the value of applying analytics to medical and related data. Whether using algorithms to score patients' need and thereby improve their health outcomes, or performing real-time predictive analysis of patients in order to properly assign resources or leveraging data analytics as a way to rein in costs and improve quality, these healthcare organizations are taking the data they have, applying models, and using analytics to make things better.

It's truly a case where analytics can save lives. That's part of the reason why more than 40,000 healthcare IT professionals, clinicians, executives, and vendors will convene for the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Conference 2017 in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 19 to 23, to learn more about analytics and other technology that can advance the healthcare practice and industry.

What are the trends that will shape this year's event, and the healthcare space in the year ahead?

Healthcare organizations are looking to apply analytics to topics such as population health, precision medicine, value-based care, and more. The industry now has more data in a digital format than ever before in the form of electronic health records (EHR). Organizations are also looking to incorporate data from health monitoring devices, adding an internet of things component to the mix.

A recent Gartner Maverick report suggests that smart devices, algorithms, and analytics are poised to transform the first line of healthcare delivery. In this scenario, smart devices will be able to track patient vitals such as blood glucose, body temperature, blood pressure, the bacteria and gases in your breath, and more. They will then be able to provide medical advice to the patient and suggest referrals or further testing if needed.

"Analytics is the backbone of it all," Laura Craft, Gartner research director and report author, told UBM Tech in an interview.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also expected to attract greater attention in the year ahead for healthcare use cases, according to a new report from Forrester Research, Artificial Intelligence Will Help Healthcare Understand and Engage its Patients.

Forrester says that AI can help healthcare organizations advance from descriptive to prescriptive analytics.

"Most organizations have a degree of success with descriptive (retrospective) analytics," Forrester writes in the report. "We can identify our sickest, most high-risk patients, but we are not able to determine how best to engage with them. With AI we can begin to advance our analytics capabilities to personalize the interventions we roll out to patients and move from looking in the rearview mirror at what worked historically to looking at what could work in the future with predictive and prescriptive analytics."

AI has a wide range of applications in healthcare, from this kind of predictive patient care to improving supply chain automation, Forrester said.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

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Re: analytics for healthcare
  • 3/10/2017 3:14:03 PM
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Seth writes


I've found that analytics and patients having access to their own data helps patients to truly understand their medical diagonsis and needs.   It used be that a doctor would say "You have XYZ." and a patient just accepted that the doctor knew and he or she didn't.  Now they are starting to understand all the physiological levers and pulls that affect their health. 


 

Yes, indeed. It also used to be that the medical profession absolutely resisted any efforts on the part of patients to learn more about their own health issues. (I speak from memories of unfortunate personal experience.) This has now changed – doctors and other health professionals nowadays seem delighted when patients express interest and want to be more aware and involved.

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Re: analytics for healthcare
  • 2/28/2017 11:50:23 PM
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@Ariella I have to agree that context is missing in systems here too. It's amazing to watch hostpital staff go about routines and well worn informational sessions with patients. 

Re: analytics for healthcare
  • 2/28/2017 7:12:31 PM
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It's good because it gets patients to ask more questions and gets the doctors into the habit of answering them or better yet providing that information in the first place.

Also some patients take the steps to research what every test is online and what the results really mean.  It keeps the doctors on their toes.

Re: analytics for healthcare
  • 2/18/2017 7:04:36 PM
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@SethBreedlove Do you have direct experience with that? I know many hospital systems  now make a point of giving patients log-in information about their health, test results, etc. But I don't think they really bother to explain and contextualize it very well. Also to break out of anything given in the auto-pilot mode most nurses operate in, you have to make a point of getting your doctor to talk to you about what you'd prefer to skip -- like the IV plus and  daily blood test they do for all patients -- and authorize that for the staff.  

Re: analytics for healthcare
  • 2/18/2017 3:57:03 PM
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I think the key here is that outcomes will be substantially better which will yield the lower costs and higher effectiveness of treatments. 

Re: analytics for healthcare
  • 2/17/2017 4:03:01 PM
NO RATINGS

I've found that analytics and patients having access to their own data helps patients to truly understand their medical diagonsis and needs.   It used be that a doctor would say "You have XYZ." and a patient just accepted that the doctor knew and he or she didn't.  Now they are starting to understand all the physiological levers and pulls that affect their health. 

Re: analytics for healthcare
  • 2/16/2017 3:10:27 PM
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The data is there, although more can be harvested via IoT, maximizing value with analytics is a logical progression. I believe adaptation of analytics in healthcare is compelling to go control cost and delivery of service.

analytics for healthcare
  • 2/16/2017 11:52:17 AM
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@Jessica Dr. Eric Topol is a big advocate for analytics for healthcare. The advantages of monitoring via a smartphone is one of the things he discusses in detail in The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands. However, there is another school of thought, advanced by H Gilbert Welch's in his book, Less Medicine More Health: 7 Assumptions that Drive Too Much Medial Cost. He's not just concerned about the financial cost of monitoring but the emotional cost of anxiety and physical pain from exploratory procedures that introduce their own element of risk without offering much real help for a person's wellbeing. He adds a fresh perspective the question of risk/benefit ratio, drawing on his own experience as a doctor, the son of a nurse who was a member of the Hemlock society and a father who died at 60 after being diagnosed with colon cancer. 

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